Politics today isn’t our grandfather’s politics

If you are as disgusted with America’s political scene as I am, then you are really disgusted.  We have a congenital liar on one side who is obsessed with the Scrooge complex.  Who can imagine paying that woman a quarter million dollars to hear her speak?   She is a dry-bone boring as one can get, so what do those paying that money get?  Best ask that question because they sure aren’t getting a good speech, and not for all that money.  And the lies!  She and her husband come at evading the truth as naturally as they run after money.

On the other side we have a sold-on-himself lout from New York who is as inspiring as a dead crow.  He can draw huge crowds, but I believe that is only because he sounds like he is not part of the “establishment.”  Shred that notion, and he becomes just another self-serving politician who will promise and promise but in the recesses of our minds we know he will do whatever he pleases if he ends up on the White House.

I came across an article this morning that brings into focus the political pandering of both these creatures from the lagoon.  It involves them strutting their muscles as war hawks, promising to “protect” America, provide for the wounded they will send into useless wars, and drain the treasury on the backs of our children and grand children.  I think it puts the issue of “national defense” into a perspective worth considering.

The piece is by Harold Hamilton in the Minnesota Watchdog newsletter.

TRUMP AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF

Donald Trump launched a foray into the military affairs realm this week by proposing a massive expansion of the military, requiring up to $90 a year in additional spending to cover the cost.

With national defense often cited by voters as an important issue this election, both Trump and Clinton have been racing to establish their bona fides as military leader, which is difficult for both since neither served and have little to offer in establishing their experience to serve as Commander-in-Chief.

Trump has apparently settled on a “more is better” strategy, hoping voters see his call for quantitative military expansion as evidence of competence.

This approach raises three important issues.

First, how does he propose to pay for the expansion?  Thus far, the answer has been in the form of vague platitudes about reducing “wasteful spending,” expanding energy production, and collecting unpaid taxes.

Good luck with that.  That’s about as realistic as the candidate who proclaims he eliminate the federal tax code and replace it with a post card.

The reality is that a Trump administration would be forced to lift the “sequester” that cut both military and domestic spending in order to get the extra appropriations.

That would mean domestic spending (read welfare spending) would also skyrocket, on at least a dollar-for-dollar basis.

In short, there would have to be a deal with the devil to bust spending caps.

And don’t think for a minute there would be a plan to pay for the spending buffet.  It would come at the expense of our children and grand-children, already handcuffed to $18 trillion in national debt.

This observation leads to the second question.  Why does this country need a military budget approaching $700 billion per annum, which is more than the next seven countries combined?

Sadly, the debate over military policy has started to mimic our debates over public education.

It’s become all about the money.  It’s a debate only over how much to spend.

Just like with education, it would be nice if Trump and Clinton would first define the national security interest, as they see it.

When the national security interest is defined, the resources needed to defend it come into view.  Without it, it’s nothing more than the military-industrial complex feeding at the public trough, much like the teachers’ union.

A critical and related question concerns our allies.  Both candidates should clearly articulate the role that our allies should play in defending common security interests around the globe.

For 70 years, our leaders have operated off of a post-World War II template, treating allies like global wards of the state.

If America has common cause with the likes of Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, France, Germany, and Britain, those countries should contribute resources commensurate with their global status.

It’s high time that these allies pull their weight and stop freeloading off American military resources.

Doing so wouldn’t signal American weakness or the abdication of this nation as a global leader in defending common interests regarding freedom of navigation, territorial integrity, or the fight against radical Islam.

This isn’t 1945.  Or even 1965.  It’s 2016 and it’s time for a commander-in-chief who acknowledges a new geopolitical template in military affairs, one that includes more robust participation from allies who share our values and strategic goals.

Finally, it will be interesting to see how Trump’s message plays in rural areas dominated by working class whites.

While feelings of patriotism run high in these areas, there is also a weariness of global military ventures.

These areas send a disproportionate number of sons and daughters to fight our wars.  These areas bear the brunt of the death and injuries inherent in armed conflict.

Will Trump be seen as a defender of America, one who stands in contrast to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s appeasement?  Is this part of making America great again?

Or will he be seen as a chicken hawk calling for more sons and daughters to be fed to the war machine?

 

Until later . . .

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